The Milwaukee Brewers signed veteran closer Trevor Hoffman to a one-year deal worth $6 million with an option for 2010 in an attempt to bring relief to one of baseball's worst bullpens.
The long-time San Diego Padres closer fell out of favor out west when management went full speed ahead with a rebuilding program that involved massive salary dumps. Hoffman, baseball's all-time save leader with 554, notched 30 in 2008 with a 3.77 ERA which happens to be his lowest save total (31) and highest ERA (3.88) since 1995.
This is the kind of move that makes the Brewers a better ball club, especially after losing CC Sabathia and presumably Ben Sheets to free agency. It should also strike fear into the hearts of Cubdom.
Because even at his elderly age, Hoffman has baffled the Cubs. In 57 games against the two-time defending NL Central champs, the second greatest closer in the history of the game has 34 saves, a 2.66 ERA and a 4.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio (59-12). So if the Cubs are trailing the Brewers going into the final inning, Salomon Torres and Eric Gagne will not be bailing the them out with lifeless low-90s fastballs screaming "hit me!"
Instead, when "Hells Bells" plays at Wrigley Field North, it might mean a long drive back to the city for fans making the trek.